Outdoor Electrical Wiring

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  #1  
Old 08-07-04, 06:25 PM
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Outdoor Electrical Wiring

Even though this is for our 'currently under construction' pool, I thought it fit here.

I'd like to cut some costs by doing some of the 'grunt' work involved in the electrical install.

Specifically, I can run the conduit, pull the wire and install outlets where I want them. After that I can have the 'real' electrician do the hookups for me.

Questions:

Is PVC conduit acceptable for underground electric and does it require a 'special' solvent?

Can I use 1" vs 3/4" conduit to make the wire pull easier?

I know 'BF' is for outdoor/wet areas, but what size for a 40-50 amp sub-panel - 12/8, 12/6. 2-wire, 3-wire, etc?

What provisions do I need to make for the electrician to connect to my main panel? Can I just bring the conduit up to the panel and have him add extra conduit if needed?

My main panel is flush with the house stucco. How do you feed the conduit/wires through to get it behind the cover?

I'm sure they are more questions, but right now they escape me.

Thanks in advance for any input.

Matt
 
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  #2  
Old 08-07-04, 06:58 PM
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Lightbulb

Matt,

Yes, you can definetly do some of the work yourself. As for running pipe, make sure you get the grey PVC pipe, it is rated for electrical installations plus should be more sunlight resistant, besides the fact that if it is white, it could be mistaken for a water line. Just use plain old PVC solvent to glue the pipes together, there is no need for the purple cleaner, as plumbers use. Keep in mind, if you have allot of long bends in the pipe, it may be impractical for you to buy different angled pieces, therefore a professional electrician with a PVC heater may be more useful. Note, heaters are way overpriced for the general homeowner, therefore unless you already have one, I wouldn't even think of buying one for what use you would get out of it.

Check your local codes, but it may be ok to bring the pipe into the panel, however, generally when pipe is exposed, it will change from PVC to EMT. You may want to use an electrician to do a "cleaner" installation. Also, he may have an idea of where exactly he wants it to stub up into the box.

If your just powering your filer and pump system, and not all that much more, 3/4" pipe is sufficient, however if you are building for additions oin the future, etc. 1" may be a good choice.

If your panel is flush, you will probably have to make a channel in the wall that will allow you to attach the pipe... it is a must. Hopefully you can patch it up. I suggest deciding whether iit would be easier to stub it in from the inside of your house or outside to get into the box, also which way will minimize damage.

As for the size wire to pull in, 12-4 would be acceptable and allow for future upgrades, however if you are using more than 15 amps, consider going to #10 wire. If you are going a really long run you will also want to take wire size and gauge into factor. Therefore, you may just want to consult an electrician to be safe.

If you do choose to pull the wire yourself, I guess you could just use romex, however I recommend you buy each seperate color by the spool, It will pull much easier, plus it allows for easier future upgrades... you will probably have to buy each spool in 500 foot lengths. Also, you are going to need a fish tape most likely to pull the wire through the pipes, you could sleve the pipes over the wire but that is, "not the correct" thing to do.

Best of luck, if you have more questions, post em here,

Paul
 

Last edited by SafeWatch; 08-14-04 at 05:01 PM.
  #3  
Old 08-15-04, 12:51 PM
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Paul,

Thanks for the response. Sorry to be late in responding, but my plate is fairly full these days what with work and all.

I've being reading a Black & Decker book on "Advanced Wiring" and using it as my reference material.

If I understand correctly the only thing that goes from the main panel to the sub-panel is the "feeder cable". According to the charts, I would need # 8 cable for a 40-50 amp sub-panel.

According to the book a 3-wire pull (red, black & white I would guess) is sufficient unless I use metal conduit and then a separate ground wire is required.

Are there any advantages to using metal conduit (EMT) vs PVC? Seems like EMT would be easier and cheaper to work with as a mechanical conduit bender is a lot cheaper the the tool used to heat bend PVC.

My goal at this stage of the work is to get the conduit with feeder cable pulled through in the trench between the main and sub-panels, cover it with dirt and be ready for concrete.

Once I get this done I'll be installing the block wall that will surround my equipment so I can mount the sub-panel and start thinking about branch circuits.

TIA for any help.

Matt
 
  #4  
Old 08-16-04, 04:33 AM
rlrct
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Originally Posted by morpheusoptic

Just use plain old PVC solvent to glue the pipes together, there is no need for the purple cleaner, as plumbers use.
Buy the solvent in the electrical aisle with the conduit. While cleaning the conduit with the purple cleaner isn't a requirement, I wouldn't trust "plain old" solvent to properly adhere the stuff together, whatever plain old solvent is.

Originally Posted by morpheusoptic

Check your local codes, but it may be ok to bring the pipe into the panel, however, generally when pipe is exposed, it will change from PVC to EMT.
May absolutely be a local code thing but, in my area which is underground service, we have PVC risers to our meter.

Originally Posted by morpheusoptic

If your just powering your filer and pump system, and not all that much more, 3/4" pipe is sufficient, however if you are building for additions oin the future, etc. 1" may be a good choice.
3/4" can take up to (5) #8 conductors, 1" can take up to 9 (disregard derating for conductor bundling). It's going to be a lot easier to pull wire through the larger conduit, especially when you're only (1) conductor away from the max with 3/4".

Originally Posted by morpheusoptic

As for the size wire to pull in, 12-4 would be acceptable and allow for future upgrades, however if you are using more than 15 amps, consider going to #10 wire. If you are going a really long run you will also want to take wire size and gauge into factor.

If you do choose to pull the wire yourself, I guess you could just use romex, however I recommend you buy each seperate color by the spool.
"Romex" (NM cable) CAN NOT be pulled through outdoor conduit to a pool. It isn't wet-location rated and underground is wet-location.

#10 is only good for 30 amps. For a "40-50 amp sub-panel", you'd run #8. That's assuming the panel you're installing is 50 to 75 feet away. Much longer than that and I'd consider upsizing for voltage drop.

For 240v subpanel, you'd pull (2) hots [black + red], a neutral [white] and grounding [green] conductors.

Originally Posted by morpheusoptic

Also, you are going to need a fish tape most likely to pull the wire through the pipes, you could sleve the pipes over the wire but that is, "not the correct" thing to do.
Definitely need a fish tape. Pull lubricant too - squirt it on the conductors as you're pulling them.

On the installation with the flush mount, it's might be easiest to come out the side of the main panel with a 90 into an elbow/pull box and run the conduit right down the side of the house. Paint it the same color as your house so it doesn't look too obvious. You'll need an expansion joint (slip fitting for the conduit) to allow the PVC to expand and contract where it enters the ground. It's basically a larger piece of PVC that slides down ove the piece sticking up out of the ground. Rain can't get in, and the expansion fitting lets the PVC move with heat changes. That's just aguess - out servcie equipment (main disconnect and panel) are inside our basement, back-to-back with the meter.
 
  #5  
Old 08-16-04, 04:38 AM
rlrct
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Originally Posted by smogtek

My goal at this stage of the work is to get the conduit with feeder cable pulled through in the trench between the main and sub-panels, cover it with dirt and be ready for concrete.
Your conduit needs to be 18" deep. You also need a marking tape at least 12" over the conduit. In my area, the inspectors want to see the trench with conduit installed before you backfill. That way they can verify it's deep enough.

You are pulling a permit - right?
 
  #6  
Old 08-16-04, 05:54 PM
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Permit has been pulled. Although we are acting as an owner/builder everything is legit and permitted. Currently awaiting a slot on the gunite schedule. Trench for gas/electric is 18" deep and will have a 4" slab over it when complete.

Since books don't tell you everything, I'm learning as I go. I'll leave the hookups to the pros, but running the feeder and branch circuits looks like shouldn't be a difficult DIY project.

Home Depot guy said conduit is only used from the main to the trench and from the trench to the sub-panel. In between the feeder cable is just buried. His reasoning: if you put the feeder in conduit it gets too hot. Hmmmm?

Local electrical outlet supply says he doesn't even carry the # 8 UF-B 4-wire. No call for it. Says locals just pull individual wires through conduit and do it that way.

May have to call one of the building inspectors and get the straight skinny.

Appreciate all the help,

Matt
 
  #7  
Old 08-16-04, 06:18 PM
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Please, please, please, DO NOT listen to the home depot guy (no, home depot does not deserve caps). 93.5% of the time they have absolutely no clue as to the correct and CODE LEGAL way to do things. On the rare occasion I do go in there it never fails that the electrical guy is giving some wrong advice after which I usually tell the customer the real skinny.

I get the impression that you feel all the "grunt work" is simple and just the "hook ups" are the hard part. The hook up into the panel is simple, the myriad of codes covering a pool installation is the hard part if you are not well versed in them.

Do you know the codes required for a pool installation?
Will you have a general GFI protected receptacle within 10'-20' of the pool?
Is there a 120 volt light in the pool? How is the conduit connected to the forming shell? Does it go to an approved deck box?
Are you doing the bonding or the pool installers? Will you/they hit all the
correct points such as rebar, filter motor, heater enclosure, metal coping, ladder cups, etc, etc, etc?
How is the filter fed? Hard wired or plug in? Is it within 10' of the pool?

To be honest I am surprised you can find a qualified electrican to have you do half the work for them. Do you have someone lined up yet?

I don't mean to sound ****y or scare you but NONE of this is unimportant. Pools are a very bad area to delve into if you are not experienced. There is too much at risk and I take it a bit personally when people diminish the knowledge it takes to do a job right.
 
  #8  
Old 08-16-04, 06:44 PM
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Petey,

I'm following the 2000 Edition of the Uniform Swimming Pool, Spa and Hot Tub Code which LA County has adopted.

Electrical requirements are per NEC or local ordinance (probably should check that).

As a professional aircraft mechanic and automotive technician I certainly don't mean to diminish the skills of any professional, although I've had my share of electricians, plumbers, carpenters, et al that felt repairing an emissions failure on a computer-controlled car was "easy".

My plan was to put in the conduit, pull the wires and install the sub-panel. I figured I could also install the conduit and boxes along the property line block wall and pull the wires for that. Then I can bring in the electrician for all the hookups.

Pool light is 120V.

GFCI is A MUST!

Electrician will do all the bonding for the equipment.

Steel guys already set the bonding for the light cans which are PVC.

I ran # 8 copper wire for bonding from the rebar for patio cover support posts that may be within 5' of any water.

I also ran bonding for any future items within the 5' zone.
Filter and pumps (3 + a blower motor) will be hard wired. Plumber already installed and pressure tested the gas line.

The electrican that was recommened quoted me $4,500 for the job and that includes him providing all supplies (he said 20% markup) including a Jandy AquaLink RS-8 pool controller with in-house touch pad. If I buy the controller, he's quoting $2,200.00 for the work.

Thanks for the input,

Matt
 
  #9  
Old 08-16-04, 07:10 PM
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Well you do sound like you have done your homework and I commend you on that. Especially from the sound of the scope of your project.

Unfortunately I see far too many jobs like this that folks thought were "easy" and approached them as such. Until the inspector showed them otherwise. Basically they are usually told don't call back until after a professional re-does the failed portions.

I will never diminish the difficulty in automotive work these days. Being a shadetree auto and motorcycle mechanic for woa these many years I get quite frustrated when I cant even set my own timing. My new car keeps me humble while my '70 Nova race car keeps me happy.
 
  #10  
Old 08-16-04, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Speedy Petey
My new car keeps me humble while my '70 Nova race car keeps me happy.
I know what you mean. I had planned on buying a Volvo at retirement to last me the rest of my life, but with something like 8 (yes - 8!) onboard computers I may have to rethink this and get a '69 Nova (in memory of my Grandmother) throw a 350 in it and use it for the "grocery getter".

I currently drive 15 year-old cars because the OBD-Is are less hassle than the OBD-IIs.

I don't see electrical as "easy", but with a planned, stepped approach I figure I can get the grunt stuff done and cut a few bucks off the final price tag.

The GC (my wife) is keeping a close eye on things. She's the brains of this outfit and was raised by a pack of contractors. She's still pissed that her Dad wouldn't sponsor her into the carpenter's union! LOL!

Matt
 
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